Lifting a spoon to your mouth may seem like a simple, daily act that doesn’t take much thought or effort. But it’s an out-of-reach luxury for many people with mobility-related disabilities.
Now, a new line of eating utensils helps people with limited mobility regain mealtime independence, all through high-tech sensors, computers and motors.
The line, called Liftware, features two utensils designed to help with hand tremors, limited reach and other mobility conditions that could affect a person’s ability to feed themselves.
The first product, called Liftware Steady, has sensors that detect unintended hand movements, compensating for tremors with complementary vibrations to keep the spoon level. The second design, called Liftware Level, bends at the neck of the utensil, allowing for improved angling of the spoon. It also uses sensors to detect movements that would tip the utensil too much and cause unintended spills.
The creators of Liftware say the utensils, which can be used with spoon or fork attachments, were specifically designed to help those living with cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease and post-stroke mobility issues.
The Liftware team worked directly with patient advocates to test the product’s impact.
To develop the tools, the Liftware team worked with these communities directly, testing the product with the help of patient advocates.
The devices, which run on a rechargeable battery, can be used continuously for up to one hour. The product sells for a steep $195 with one spoon attachment. Additional attachment heads run for $34.95 each.
For people with disabilities, who often lack access to employment, that luxury price could potentially be a deal-breaker due to income constraints. But, the creators say, the cost averages to 17 cents per meal over the first year, arguing the utensils and the independence they grant users are worth the price tag.